As the U.S. economy continues to produce positive employment numbers, some Democratic presidential contenders are saying more people than ever are working more than one job to sustain their livelihoods.
But that appears to be more of a political talking point than economic reality, as a Washington Post fact-checker revealed Tuesday. The number of people who have to work more than one job is actually shrinking in Trump’s economy, and in January, applications for unemployment insurance fell to 1969 levels.
But that hasn’t stopped California Democratic Rep. Kamala Harris from putting her own data out there for voters to consider. (RELATED: February Jobs Report: 20,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment 3.8 Percent)
“[They say,] ‘The economy is great. It is doing great for everybody.’ And then you ask them, ‘Well, how is that?’ Well, they’ll point to the stock market. Well, that’s fine if you own stocks. Then you’ll ask them, what’s your other measure? And they’ll talk about well, the unemployment rate is down. That’s fine,” the Post quotes Harris as saying.
“Yeah, well, I’ve been traveling our country. People are working. They’re working two and three jobs to pay the bills. It’s not working for working people,” she continued, offering anecdotal evidence. Harris also doesn’t talk about the black unemployment being the lowest in history under Trump.
But the economy is working better than it was a year ago, with only 251,000 workers out of a total workforce of 156 million being forced to find a second full-time job. As the Post notes, that’s 100,000 fewer people than 2018 data shows. There are 7.8 million people who work full-time and supplement their income with another part-time position, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders is also inclined to push the multi-job panic button when he speaks to supporters. Last week, he declared, “Millions of Americans are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive.” (RELATED: The Key To Winning In 2020 Will Be Properly Explaining Socialism, Says Bernie Sanders)
Sanders did not mention that those millions comprise just 5 percent of all employed Americans, according to the Post report. Of that 5 percent, the majority have a secondary job that is part-time.
Former Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, also running for his party’s presidential nomination, has painted a similar employment picture of over-worked Americans with little time for rest or relaxation.
“I have already shared with you that many are working second or third jobs. In fact, in Texas, half of your colleagues are working a second or third job just to put food on the table,” O’Rourke told an Iowa crowd, according to Fox News.
The Post fact checker, however, points out that O’Rourke and his team claimed that statistic of “half” the workforce in Texas is working two jobs was actually in regard to teachers only. But the U.S. Department of Education study that used a random sample of teachers showed that only 18 percent of teachers nationwide took up more than one job to earn more money.